1. MainerMikeBrown
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    MainerMikeBrown Contributing Member

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    Why Go To College If You Have No Intentions Of Using Your Degree?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by MainerMikeBrown, Jan 7, 2015.

    Many people go to college because they want the education that they receive in school to be useful in becoming qualified to work in the field they went to college for.

    But their are others who just go to college for the experience, having no intentions in gaining employment in the field they studied in college once they graduate.

    If going to college was economically cheap, then I could see people doing this.

    However, as we all know, going to college in America these days is anything but inexpensive. I have friends who paid tens of thousands of dollars per year in order to attend college.

    So with that said, I think it's foolish to go to college if you have no intentions of using your college degree.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    There are many jobs in which you are limited, or even prevented from being employed, without a college degree. It doesn't matter what the degree is in. For example, a friend of mine from college worked as a sales/rental representative for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. At the time she started with them, you could not get the job unless you had a college degree in something, but they didn't care what the degree was in. For all I know, that's still their policy. Other companies may have a ceiling internally, in terms of promotions, such that certain jobs levels require a college degree in something.
     
  3. MainerMikeBrown
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    MainerMikeBrown Contributing Member

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    But despite the fact that college graduates can use their degree for many things, Steerpike, some with degrees still don't actually use their degree. Instead, they work at jobs that require little skill.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    True. And that doesn't make much sense, but for some perhaps they can't find employment at a higher level, I don't know. They probably didn't go to college not intending to make use of the degree in some manner.
     
  5. MainerMikeBrown
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    MainerMikeBrown Contributing Member

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    It's true that some can't find employment in the field they went to school for.

    But then there are others with degrees who never even try to find employment in the field they went to college for.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    A lot of employers are looking for a particular skill set, and like Steerpike said, some employers require a college degree. They don't care much about the actual subject you majored in, especially at the undergraduate level. I even know a few PhDs who do something completely unrelated to their field.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Other than to note that your argument is, in true you style, circular - the argument is the conclusion is the argument - you are making a statement that blindly groups individuals without regard to the many different reasons someone might not end up working in the field they chose. I went to U.F. for more years than I should have to get my batch degree, and let me tell you about aaaaaalllllll the beautiful - and I mean heartbreakingly beautiful - "lost boys" I dated during those seven years. They had ambition, or so they said. Often it sounded like the conversation came up so many times because they were trying to convince themselves of the lie they had espoused in order to be happy about making their parents happy. Also, American high school is for the most part a joke. Unless you went to a really swank school in a great area or a prep school, what chance do most people have of having a clue what they want to do? Then there's the "Do what you love to do and your work will be your love!" lie that gets sold so passionately by well-meaning, but tragically deluded individuals who lucked out and beat the odds because what they just happen to love to do also has a paycheck at the end. Seriously, I think there was a different reason for each of the lost boys passing through my memory. No two alike.

    ETA: My post sounds very uppity, so let me disclose that I too was a lost boy. Tragically lost and oh so romantic about uni. I was older, having spent time in the military, but good genes left me looking as young as my classmates. So. Much. Sex! Anyway, After starting in anthropology (enriching and impoverishing at the same time) I flipped to applied linguistics, which is where I got my batch. I don't use that degree. The diploma that opens doors for me as an interpreter is the one I got from the DLIFLC when I was 19 and in the USAF. In hindsight, it was the only piece of paper I would ever need. The seven years at U.F. was classes, bushels of weed, and lots of porking. I don't regret one minute of it. ;)
     
  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I'll be up front, I went to art college to study computer animation, and it was a horrible mistake. I met wonderful people (my wife among them), I learned great things, and I have no hope of gaining a job in my field. It's simple numbers actually. In my area my college is churning out animation students at a rate of about 40 per year. There is an animation job opened up every six to eight months here. I would have to be the best, no just in my class, but in every class for the last 6 months-2 years in order to even have a chance. To be honest, I'm probably in the top 5%, but that still isn't enough. No one in my graduating class is working full time in their field. In fact, out of all the people I met in school, I know of only 3 that are working full time in animation.
     
  9. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    For many, the value of a college degree has little to do with their major. Even ignoring the social aspects, many degrees can help people learn how to critically think, how to write well, how to work well with a group, how to speak in front of audiences, etc. I'm happy that I chose a liberal arts college because it's focused primarily on giving me these skills over technical skills that have a high chance of not being related to my future positions. Even if your major is related to your first job, I believe I've read that Americans on average change their career (not just job) around three times over their lifetime.
     
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  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's sad to think of going to university as being exclusively job preparation. Education can make you a better thinker, a better person, and give you a richer life.

    It's a luxury, sure. But if you can afford it, why not enjoy it?
     
  11. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You mean if your parents can afford it. It can also just make you more spoiled and lazier. College is really just a tool.
     
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  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    The best reason to go to university is to learn, not to get a degree. If a degree is all you want and the learning is secondary you're missing the real benefit. And learning goes beyond the subject. You learn how to investigate, how to communicate, how to think and evaluate. Learning about one thing can broaden your understanding of everything.
     
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  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Most people who go to university without an end game do so, stupidly, because they want to live the university life style. And to avoid getting a job. I must admit, when I first went to university that was me too. I was the annoying type of undergraduate, who would party until the early hours and turn up to lectures/seminars still drunk.
     
  14. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Generally people go to university too young to understand the benefits. They should get some real world perspective and go starting age 25, not straight out of one school and into another.
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can you provide examples? Of people who (1) went to college and now work jobs that (2) require no skills acquired in college, that (3) don't call for a college degree, people who (4) never desired and (5) never expect to desire a job that does require either college-acquired skills or a college degree?

    I don't personally know any of those people.

    Edited to add: Keep in mind that someone who hopes to own a business larger than a sole proprietorship will likely end up using skills acquired in college, even if they start out primarily using skills (say, gardening or cake decorating or housecleaning) that they didn't acquire in college.
     
  16. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    That's actually not a bad idea.
     
  17. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    1/ My daughter went straight from school, got her degree in history, came 0ut and bummed-around a bit, doing different jobs. Found one she liked. Went back to Uni for a second, this time job-related, degree.

    2/ When I started work, the entry requirements for my professional qualification were 5 GCEs, which I scraped. Now, I'd need a degree. I've been working for the last few years with a woman who's got the same qualification as me, entering with a degree...I wouldn't have given her the job (she was here before me) if I'd known how incapable she is of doing it. Her degree was job-related, but it needn't have been - she could have done computer graphics, or needle-point, it's having a degree that gets you in.

    3/ Another daughter spent some time working in recruitment. She would almost never try to find a job for a graduate, because too many of them came in with a "I've got a degree, so I expect to be taken on at a senior level and astronomical pay grade" attitude. Perhaps that's why so many of them end up as baristas.
     
  18. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I quit uni because it was too easy and I was bored. I also lost faith because too many idiots were passing. Graduates I manage think they are smart but their lack of intelligence is frustrating. Uni is too easy. Graduates only get my respect when they prove they can think, not just repeat.
     
  19. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Like many, I went into university not knowing want I wanted to do with my life.
    I'd got on with chemistry reasonably well at A-level, so I chose that for my degree. If things went well, I'd probably follow the natural progression and go for a chemistry related job.

    Chemistry was tougher at degree level than it had been at A-level. I struggled to engage with my course and I got too distracted by the university social life and the excitement of a university internet connection. I scraped through my degree with a pass without honours.
    I still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, but now I knew I didn't want to be a chemist.

    And it wasn't a wasted three years.

    For me the 'experience' was vital in getting me where I am today. When I went into university I was hopelessly shy and unconfident. My time at university got me out of my shell and able to cope in social situations.
    Warwick's club and society scene was good. I ended up on on the exec of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Society and co-founding a collectible card games society. All sorts of useful experience came from that.
    Admittedly I did spend about two and a half years after uni, just doing office temp work, not knowing what I wanted to do. Eventually I ended up as an online games designer, which meant even that time I'd spent at uni playing online games actually gave me useful knowledge for my career.
    The main thing that wasn't at all useful from my time at uni was any sort of knowledge of chemistry.
     
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  20. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Many people go to uni simply because that's the norm and everyone's herded through the same system, and when you're 16, 17, you don't do that much research and just go with the flow. Besides, all your friends are going and everyone needs a degree (right?) So you go along with it.

    Others go for the love of learning. They know there's not a chance in hell to ever get a job in their field but they love their subject and want to know more. As long as you/your family can afford it, I don't see why not.

    Still others study thinking they're gonna get a job in this field but c'mon, how many 18-year-olds really know what they want to do for the rest of their lives? So they end up with a degree in the wrong field and somehow or other, if they're diligent with some luck thrown in, they get into what they actually want to do.

    In my husband's case he really wanted to study Psychology and IT but his parents discouraged him from IT, so he ended up with a psychology degree. Then he became a Christian and his entire lifeview drastically changed, which meant he no longer believed in the same things as before and that in turn meant he no longer wanted to work in psychology. He now works in IT, even though he's not formally qualified in that field. Changes in life direction can affect things greatly.

    In my case it was all a terrible mistake really. I should've studied something like illustration and creative writing, but instead I was encouraged into sciences. I took one year of Neuroscience before I switched degrees - but by that point I wanted to stay in the same uni with my friends, and I'd already signed a house contract with my housemates, and my A-Levels limited me severely in what I could have studied. I would have gone for English Literature if I could, but I didn't have Eng Lit A-Level so that option was out. I ended up with Art History because it required only grades and no specific subject. They didn't care what I got in Neuroscience because it was irrelevant. I don't regret discovering Art History for one minute - but do I ever want to work in a museum (you need curator or museum studies for that anyway)? No, never. Do I want to be a scholar in the field? No way. I'm now an English teacher in Prague. Happens. Art History was a degree I took because it was the only option left for me at the time - I never thought of work possibilities.

    And then there's the fact that school makes you believe doing all this random stuff is going to get you good jobs when in fact employers really couldn't care less. You find out too late that the degree you got isn't really what the employer wants. For example, my husband has a masters in Occupational Psychology, which essentially qualifies him to work in HR and Corporate Consultancy I think, only people actually in HR has never heard of Occupational Psychology and thus wasn't interested in him at all, even though he was fully equipped, knowledge-wise, for the job. HR wanted something else, some other qualification.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Not necessarily. My parents didn't pay for my college education.
     
  22. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mine neither. Yay, student loans! (still paying the bastards off, not working in the field in which I was studying, and still happy with my decision to go to school).
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I relied on student loans for undergrad, since my high school grades were so poor I barely graduated (except in my honors English program, which I did well in to the puzzlement of my counselors). For grad school and law school it was a combination of scholarships and loans.
     
  24. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You had said "if you could afford it"
     
  25. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    What? Yeah?

    I don't... what?
     

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